Auburn vs. Vanderbilt: Loss Shows Gene Chizik Shouldn't Have a Job Come Monday
Auburn limped to a 1-6 record in Nashville today with the Vanderbilt Commodores scoring their first SEC win of the season against the Tigers. Auburn may not win a SEC game this season, and Gene Chizik shouldn’t have a job come Monday because of it.
This is a hopeless Auburn football team. This team reminded me of the 1998 squad for a while, then the realization set in how talented this team really was and the comparisons flew away. Shortly after the worst Auburn record since 1951 floated into the room, and the stench appears unbearable for the Auburn faithful.
Gene Chizik is scratching and clawing for his job talking about his plan and how he is sticking to it. That may be a part of the problem, and more importantly, a concern as the plan doesn't appear to be working.
Signing a once-in-a-lifetime talent will do wonders for a career, but it won’t keep you in the driver’s seat in the SEC for long without sustained success. Chizik hasn't sustained success, and these are the reasons why his job needs to be vacant on Monday.
Buyouts Don’t Matter When Football Is This Bad
At this point, a buyout doesn’t matter anymore. The Tigers will owe Gene Chizik a ton of money if he is fired, but no one will care if the decision is made.
As Kevin Scarbinsky of al.com points out here, there are a lot of stipulations that work in the favor of Auburn. For instance, if Chizik happens to find employment during his buyout payout period, that salary will be reduced from the monthly payout from Auburn.
A number of other stipulations are also involved, but at the end of it all, Auburn will not be worried about paying too much money to get rid of the current coach.
As bad as the Tigers are, all anyone wants is to get rid of the coach and move on. There are a lot of problems that come with firing a coach, but his buyout won’t be one of them.
Larry Coker Jr.?
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Say what you will but the 2010 season looks more and more like a Larry Coker fluke than not. Think about it, Chizik was 5-19 before he took the Auburn job, and he is now 22-35 overall without 2010.
Chizik has all-world talent on the roster, and he can’t find a way to get that talent to produce. The most promising play today was a screen pass from freshman Jonathan Wallace to freshman Ricardo Louis. It only happened once.
Tre Mason was finally given the chance to excel in the offense, but he couldn’t do it alone. There is no answer at quarterback in Chizik’s fourth year at Auburn. That is simply unacceptable.
Chizik has hired two new coordinators, putting the Tigers in a restart mode for this season, but that can’t be used as an excuse. This team was derailing last season, but hope was renewed with new coordinators. That hope was based in fleeting moments of success that disappeared with Cam Newton and 23 other upperclassmen after 2010.
The excuses are well-known, and the list is long, but by now, with the record that Chizik has built as a career head coach, it is time for Auburn find a winner and put them on the sideline. Chizik is bringing back Larry Coker memories, and it looks terrible.
Unprepared Young Talent
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How many times has the excuse Auburn is young been uttered? It has been less prevalent this season, but it still gets whispered from time to time.
Here is the problem, a number of other programs with just as much young talent are playing competitive football. Auburn is not.
The Tigers look lost and like a poor disciplined football team every single Saturday. There is a lack of effort at times, but overall, the lack of preparedness is the key. What was lost in just two years by Chizik and his coaches?
Jeff Driskel is guiding the No. 2 Florida Gators as a starting quarterback. He was in the same recruiting class as Kiehl Frazier.
Johnny Manziel at Texas A&M is doing amazing things as a true freshman. There is no excuse for Auburn's Top-10 talent to not be producing on the field.
There were no preparation issues during the national title run. Something is missing this season. The leadership of Chizik is in question, and when fans begin to see it, there are problems present.
Defensive Coach Leads Bad Defense
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Coach Chizik was expected to bring back hard-nosed football that relied on big defense and a running offensive attack. Instead, Auburn got a spread offense and weak defensive performances for four straight seasons.
Brian VanGorder was hired from the Atlanta Falcons this past spring, and he has done a great job turning around the unit, so far, but the Tigers are still mediocre at best on defense.
Maybe Chizik is better as a coordinator. Maybe Chizik isn’t made for big-time football as a head coach. Whatever the reason may be, it is time for him to go. Not having a better defense is inexcusable at this point.
The Chizik-led Tigers have been very undisciplined and have played themselves out of ballgames with their defense. Chizik can’t get his primary unit of expertise to perform which is another reason for Chizik to hit I-85 quickly.
Offensive Production Absent from View
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Auburn is terrible on offense this season. The Tigers are No. 94 in rushing offense, No. 111 in passing offense, No. 116 in total offense and No. 115 in scoring offense.
Last season, Auburn was No. 100 in total offense. Absolute digression.
This is the worst offensive football team that Auburn has fielded in quite some time. The 2008 offense that only scored three total points on Mississippi State was the No. 104 total offense that year. That is 12 spots better than this season's unit.
There is a pattern that is apparent. Gene Chizik has coached Auburn to terrible results on both sides of the football. It is time for the coach to go.
Questionable Personnel Decisions
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Jonathan Wallace may be a true freshman, but the quarterback has looked very good in the pocket for the Tigers. Why not give the kid a few more shots?
Jake Holland was killing the Auburn defense from the middle linebacker position. Holland was missing big plays and rarely could seal the gap on inside runs. Finally this week, Cassanova McKinzy has gotten the start.
Erique Florence and Robenson Therezie have been great in the secondary when they have made it to the field. Both have had very limited snaps this season.
These are just a few of the questionable personnel decisions that the Tigers coaches are making this season. These decisions haven’t just hit this year, however. It has been a recurring theme with this staff.
Auburn has to find a way to mix personnel and grab wins. This staff doesn’t seem to have a grasp on how to do that.
Unmatched Fall from Glory
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In 2010, the Tigers were playing for a national title. Two years later, the Tigers have the worst record to start a season in the history of the program. Things aren’t looking good.
Has there been a harder fall from glory in college football than Auburn this fall?
This team may only win two more games this fall. New Mexico State and Alabama A&M are left on the schedule. Thankfully for Auburn, they get to host both games. It may be a tossup if not.
This is the hardest fall in memorable history for a national title winner. Gene Chizik needs to be ushered out of town. He is a nice guy with a great family, but the Auburn family no longer appears to be his.
There is a massive split in the fanbase and zero leadership on this football team. The time has come.